Category Archives: Lewis Carroll

John Lennon, Edward Lear, and Nonsense

An English exercise book from his junior year at Quarry Bank—neatly covered in brown paper and titled MY ANTHOLOGY—demonstrates what pains he [John Lennon] would take if his enthusiasm were aroused. Quotations from classic poems like Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha … Continue reading

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Katharine West, Nonsense and Wit (1946)

SHOULD the British Council or arty other body concerned with the “projection of Britain” endeavour to make known abroad the unique British heritage of nonsense? Every country has its nursery rhymes and fairy tales; but, as M. Emile Cammaerts writes … Continue reading

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Nonsense Programmes

As usual for the Christmas period, the BBC has a few Nonsense-related programmes you can listen to while still available on iPlayer Radio: Drama of the Week, which you can download as a podcast, is Jeremy Iron’s reading of T.S. … Continue reading

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More Houghton Manuscripts

In his Course in Nonsense Tom Swifty comments on the feud between Learians and Carrollians: The nonsense of these two could not have been more different. We can make fun of rules by blithely ignoring them, like Lear, but also by … Continue reading

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WS Gilbert’s Nonsense Poems

W.S. Gilbert never really wrote Nonsense; his Bab Ballads and other collections, while obviously influenced by Edward Lear ― especially in the strongly caricatural style of the pictures accompanying his poems in the early editions – are rather in the … Continue reading

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Gustave Verbeek’s Cruel Tales and the Nonsense Tradition

[I wrote this short article for The Upside-Down World of Gustave Verbeek: The Complete Sunday Comics 1903-1905, edited by Peter Maresca, foreword by Martin Gardner. Palo Alto, CA: Sunday Press Books, 2009, where it appeared under the title “Verbeek’s Loony Lyrics … Continue reading

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Unnatural History Lessons

The early newspaper comic supplements used a wide variety of materials to fill their pages, among them alphabets — which could be put to several uses: satiric or purely nonsensical — seem to have been particularly appreciated. Here is an … Continue reading

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